The Biology of Rocky Shores

The Biology of Rocky Shores

The Biology of Rocky Shores

The Biology of Rocky Shores


1. The shore environment - problems for organisms and their investigators 2. Vertical distributions - ' zonation' and its causes 3. Communities on the shore - the effects of wave exposure 4. Algae, the primary energy sources 5. Grazers and their influences 6. Suspension feeders - how to live on floating food 7. Predators and their influences 8. The functioning of rocky shores communities 9. Biodiversity, pollution, and conservation Further reading Appendix 1: A brief classification of selected organisms Appendix 2: Some sites at which research quoted in the text has been carried out Index


Contrary to the opinion of the Rat, in The wind in the willows, there is nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about on a rocky shore (with or without a boat). In spite of this truth, so obvious to us, we could find no book that we felt would really convey to students the interest to be found there -- so we presumptuously decided to write our own. It is based on many years of fieldwork on the shore, courses of lectures that we have given, and especially on our experience of running field courses. We hope it will encourage students to take up a science that provides enormous intellectual rewards, coupled with the pleasure of working in some of the last easily accessible places relatively unspoilt by man.

The book is traditional in organization, and leads from the study of individual species to the study of communities. We assume that readers will have some taxonomic knowledge, but in Appendix I we give a brief illustrated guide to genera to help those who find it hard to remember names. We discuss examples from around the world to show how field experiments can be used to investigate the processes that occur on the shore. Inevitably, some sites have been the focus of much attention, and their names keep cropping up. To help the reader locate these, there are maps in Appendix II.

In our experience we have found that most people develop an interest in rocky shores by beginning with individual species or groups of plants or animals. We have therefore provided some detailed information about particular species in north-west Europe. However, the reader will find that in the chapters devoted to groups of organisms, a general section first describes world-wide distribution, and another discusses the general biology of the group, with examples from various parts of the world. We hope, therefore, to place north-west Europe into a global context. At the end of most chapters are brief suggestions for experiments or observations that can be carried out either by classes or individuals.

We have had to draw upon an enormous body of literature, and would like to thank the authors of well over 600 papers for their contributions to our knowledge of rocky shores, although space has allowed us to quote relatively few of these. Many of the illustrations are based on published work, and we hope the original authors will be happy with our simplified versions, all of which have been completely redrawn.

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